Why did Jesus ask the disciples to "watch and pray" in Matthew 26:41?

35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:35 - 41

ESV - 35 Peter said to him, "Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!" And all the disciples said the same. 36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I go over there and pray.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 04 2020 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
As indicated in the passages cited in the question, Jesus spoke these words upon finding Peter, James, and John asleep, after He had earlier specifically instructed them to keep watch with him. He spoke those words in an effort to keep them steadfast in their faith and service to Him.

The fact that they had fallen asleep was indicative of the weakness of their flesh, which would also be a source of temptation to them (as well as to the rest of the apostles) in the coming hours of His arrest, trial, and crucifixion, resulting in most of the apostles deserting Him, and even in Peter (who had earlier been so boastful of his allegiance to Jesus) denying Him three times (as Jesus had said he would).

Jesus' words also foreshadowed the alertness and prayer that the apostles would need in the face of the persecution that they themselves would be subject to in the coming days and years after Jesus ascended back to heaven following His death and resurrection.

July 04 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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